After leading the U.S. women’s water polo team to gold medals at the Pan American Games and the FINA world championships last year,AshleighJohnson '17 will be the goalie for the team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The Daily Princetonian sat down with Johnson to discuss her expectations and aspirations for the Games, her team traditions and her experiences with water polo.
Daily Princetonian:Tell us a little about the first time you ever played water polo.
AshleighJohnson:I don't remember the first time I played water polo very well. But I remember that even though I didn't know anything about water polo, I still had a ton of fun playing in a sport against all my siblings.
DP:What's your favorite thing about the sport?
AJ:My favorite thing about water polo is the competitiveness of it and how evident that competitiveness is in every play of the game.
DP:What was your first thought when you learned that you had qualified for the Olympic Games?
AJ:My first thought when we qualified for the Olympics was "WE'RE GOING TO THE OLYMPICS!!"
DP:What's the craziest water polo practice you've ever had?
AJ:Every water polo practice can be hard, but when I was younger, we used to go to three two-and-a-half hour practices in a day and think nothing of it.
DP:What are three things you cannot go to Rio without?
AJ:Three things that I'm going to bring to Rio are my water bottle, my suit and my Croc sandals, haha.
DP:What is your favorite team tradition?
AJ:My favorite tradition that we do is dancing during warm up with my teammates.
DP:What's the funniest thought you've had while playing water polo?
AJ:I don't have a lot of thoughts outside of what is happening in the actual game. And if I catch myself thinking about something other than the game, I try to bring my mind back to the moment.
DP:What has been your most challenging moment at Princeton?
AJ:The most challenging moment for me at Princeton was working to overcome my tendency to procrastinate, especially since I was working for balance with my schoolwork and water polo.
DP:What's your favorite moment related to the University, or to water polo?
AJ:My favorite water polo moment was every time Luis—our coach—came to practice with his Speedo and towel in hand, because it meant that he was getting in with us and that I was going to get some easy shots to block.
DP:What is one thing you're most looking forward to for Rio?
AJ:The thing I'm most looking forward to in Rio is having my family there to watch me and cheer us on.